CINCINNATI - A Sedamsville man has been indicted on murder charges in the death of a 6-month-old child.
Frederick Mitchell, 20, is charged with two counts of murder and one count of felonious assault. If convicted of all charges, he faces the possibility of life in prison.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters announced the indictment Friday afternoon.
Officers said police and rescue crews were called to a home on Mount Hope Ave. about 12:55 p.m. last Friday in response to a call of a child not breathing.
Rescuers said the child was taken to Children’s Hospital Medical Center. According to police, Elliott Megrditchian succumbed to his injuries on Sunday.
The Hamilton County Coroner ruled Elliott’s death a homicide Tuesday. Investigators said the injuries happened while Elliott was in the care of Mitchell. The coroner ruled the baby's cause of death as a result of blunt force trauma.
Frederick was originally charged with felonious assault and is being held at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
“This is another sad case of a child killed at the hands of the adult who was supposed to be watching him. We have had far too many of these cases recently in Hamilton County,” Deters said.
The child's mother, Caitlyn Pemberton, told 9 On Your Side that a detective told her what happened while Mitchell was babysitting last Friday at the home the three shared in Sedamsville:
"To my understanding, Fred was home alone with Elliot and when he couldn't get him to stop crying and threw him,'' Pemberton wrote in an email to 9 On Your Side. "When he picked him up and saw that he was still alive, he proceeded to shake him.''
Pemberton said she was at work at the time of the incident.
Frederick's mother, Angela Mitchell, said it was "a tragic accident" and was shocked at the news of the allegations against her son.
"It's so heartbreaking. Especially with such a beautiful child. We all loved Elliott, we adored that little boy," Angela said.
Angela said she believes her son did not intentionally harm the child.
"[Frederick] says he blacked out and don't remember what happened. And I believe him. I believe that's what happened. That he was going to pass out and he tried to throw the baby on the bed. He was gone and passed out," Angela said.
She said her son woke up and found the baby on the floor not breathing. She said he then called right away for help.
"He dearly loves this child, he dearly loves this girl. He's loved this girl since high school. It makes no sense that he would do that to hurt her or the baby," she said.
Pemberton emailed a statement to 9 On Your Side Monday night in which she described Frederick as a "monster."
"I would never see nor expect this to come ... This isn't something that I would ever see coming. Especially not from Fred. It came as a total shock, when I was informed by the detective what happened. I was in tears and ran out of the room," she wrote in the email.
Pemberton's family has set up funds at Fifth Third Bank under the name "Justice for Elliot." The money will go toward funeral expenses. Donations can be made at any location in the Tri-State.
An arraignment date for Frederick Mitchell has not yet been set.
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